Returning to Earth
A/N1: For purposes of my fic Janet Frasier did not die. I like her so I’m keeping her.
A/N2: There won’t be much interaction between General Hammond and Buffy. For purposes of the story he’s been briefed and approved her trip through the gate and her visit home.
CHAPTER THIRTEEN – Returning to Earth
As the video ended everyone in the room was silent. No one could put into words what it meant to see Buffy alive.
Finally, Willow looked at Dawn and spoke in a hushed voice. “It was really her, wasn’t it? And you met the people that were with her?”
“Yes it was her. I've just met Jack and Daniel. They’re the ones that came to L.A. to see me. Jack is so funny and Daniel is way too much like Giles. It was creepy.”
Giles snorted at Dawn’s comment, “And this is a bad thing?”
“When is she coming home?” Angel asked with a catch in his voice.
Both Dawn and Cordelia looked at him with narrowed eyes. Both women knew he’d never stopped loving Buffy. Dawn was worried he would break her sister’s heart again. Cordelia wondered if he’d ever really loved her or was she just a substitute for Buffy.
“She’ll be here in two days. Jack had to go and get her and arrange for her to be brought here.”
Stargate Command – Gate Room
“Unauthorized Off World Activation!” was heard as the Stargate roared into life.
General George Hammond stood in the command center overlooking the gate room. “IDC?”
“Yes, sir it’s SG-1 returning from Ravenna. They’re an hour early.”
SG-1 accompanied by a young blonde woman and small child entered through the event horizon.
General Hammond entered the gate room to hear the small child ask, “Momma, why dis room so big?”
“Probably so it can hold the Chappa’ai sweety.”
“Ms. Summers, welcome home. I’m General George Hammond commander of this facility.”
“General, please call me Buffy. This is my daughter Bronwyn.”
General Hammond walked up to the petite woman and knelt down to say hello to the small child standing next to her. “Welcome, Bronwyn.”
The little girl stuck her hand out and patiently waited for the general to shake it and when he did rewarded him with a big smile.
“Jack can you escort these two ladies to the infirmary for a routine check-up.”
“Of course sir,” Jack responded. “Ladies if you’ll follow me.”
Buffy scooped her daughter into her arms and followed Jack out of the gate room. She didn’t want to admit it but she was nervous about the check-up. She’d never liked doctors and one of the best things about Ravenna had been no hospitals. But, she knew she had to be brave for Bronwyn. Sometimes it sucked having to be a grownup.
Stargate Command – Infirmary
Buffy and Bronwyn were both given a quick but thorough physical examination. The daughter a much better patient than the mother. A smiling Dr. Frasier rewarded both with a sucker.
Bronwyn had a huge smile on her face clearly delighted with her sucker. “Dis is good!”
Jack laughed. “It’s the best part of the exam in my experience little one.”
Then in a perfect imitation of her mother Bronwyn placed her small hands on her hips and demanded, “Who you callin’ little?”
At this the entire room attempted to stifle their laughter so as not to upset the little girl further.
Jack quickly backpedaled. “No one. No one. Boy you’re one tough cookie.”
Buffy smiled at the antics between her daughter and the handsome colonel. She hadn’t realized it until he’d come walking into the village that morning but she’d really missed him. She’d only known him a few days and somehow he’d already snuck inside her heart.
Unbeknownst to her Jack had been thinking the same thing. Ever since SG-1 had returned from Ravenna he’d been unable to get the petite blonde out of his mind.
Sam Carter walked into the infirmary. “Buffy, why don’t you and Bronwyn come with me to my quarters. I got some clothes for you.”
“Samantha, thank you so much. I was worried what we’d do about clothes. Ours certainly don’t blend in.”
“No problem Buffy. It was fun, especially shopping for Bronwyn.” Sam then turned to Jack. “Why don’t I get them changed and packed then I’ll bring them to your house.”
Buffy looked between Jack and Sam. “Your house?”
“We thought we’d cook steaks tonight and give you two a chance to relax before we leave for Sunnydale in the morning. If that’s okay?” Jack asked hoping it was, more than anything he wanted this woman and child in his home. He hadn’t stopped to analyze the feelings he was having about her and just kept telling himself that he would do this for anyone who’d been trapped off world.
“Sounds good to me. I haven’t had a steak in ages.” Buffy said and then picked up her daughter and followed Sam to change clothes.
Colorado Spring’s – Jack’s House
Daniel and Teal’c were both relaxing watching Jack tend the barbeque as they waited for Sam, Buffy and Bronwyn.
Daniel was laughing at Jack’s apparent nervousness at having Buffy and Bronwyn over to his home. Since they’d arrived he’d checked and double-checked everything to make sure it was perfect for their arrival.
“What are you laughing at Danny?” Jack asks and walks over and sits down next to Teal’c.
“You, Jack. You’re acting like a teenager getting ready for his first date.”
“I am not.”
“Indeed you are O’Neill.” Teal’c intoned in all seriousness.
At this Jack slumped putting his head in his hands mumbling, “I am aren’t I. What’s wrong with me?”
“Is it not a human custom to try to win the approval of the person you are attracted to. By making sure everything is adequately prepared you are showing Buffy and Bronwyn Summers you care for them.”
“T, I think you have been watching to much Oprah,” Jack said with his face still in his hands.
“Oprah has great insight into the human condition Jack O’Neill. You could do worse than listen to her.” Teal’c responded with a raised eyebrow and slight smile on his face.
Jack just groaned and then jumped up as the doorbell rang looking almost panicked.
“Jack just calm down. She already likes you.”
“Indeed she does, O’Neill.”
Jack scowled at them both and went to answer the door.
Outside O’Neill’s House – Moments Earlier
Buffy nervously straightened the light pink sun dress she was wearing and then leaned down and did the same to the blue sundress her daughter was wearing.
Sam walked up to them. “You both look beautiful.”
Inwardly Sam thought, ‘And Jack will think so to.’
“Thanks, Sam.” Buffy had finally succumbed to her repeated efforts to call her by her nickname.
Sam reached around Buffy and rang the doorbell. The two women could hear masculine voices and laughter from inside as they waited for the door to be answered.
Jack opened the door and quickly became tongue tied at the sight of the beautiful woman before him. Giving himself a quick mental shake he stepped back from the door. “Welcome to Chez O’Neill!”
Buffy laughed. It had been awhile since she’d caused a man to go nonverbal. For a moment she thought sadly of Gareth but quickly pushed the thought aside.
Jack had seen the slight twinge of sadness in Buffy’s eyes and swore to himself that he would keep her smiling as much as possible.
Bronwyn came bustling into the house dragging a brand new doll. “Wheres T and Danny? I wanna show dem my new dolly.” Seeing the two men she quickly ran over to them. “See what ‘Mantha got me. Is pretty. Wanna play wit me?”
It was Jack’s turn to laugh at the two grown men who looked like twin deer caught in the headlights of an oncoming vehicle. Neither man could resist the tiny tornado sweeping all before her.
“Oh Sam you’ve created a monster. Jack you have to see the things Sam bought her. She has more clothes now than I ever did. Not to mention the toys.”
Sam looked sheepish, “I couldn’t resist. Everything was too precious. You have to blame Janet as well she went with me. We just couldn’t stop ourselves.”
Buffy smiled at Sam. “Thank you. I don’t know how I’ll ever repay you.”
“You don’t have to. The look on her face was enough and that hug. Are you sure she doesn’t have superpowers?”
“She is one fierce hugger, isn’t she.”
O’Neill’s House – Several Hours Later
Everyone had finally left and Buffy had put Bronwyn to bed in Jack’s guest bedroom. Jack and Buffy were relaxing on the couch talking quietly.
“Jack, I’m scared about tomorrow.” Buffy said in a slightly shaky voice.
Jack turned to Buffy and took one of her hands in his gently caressing it with his thumb. “Why?”
“I’m not the same person I was when I jumped. I’m afraid they’ll expect me to be the same girl I was then and to be honest I hated that girl. All she had was slaying and the only thing she had to look forward to was an early death. I don’t want to be her again.”
Jack looked at Buffy with deep sympathy. “I don’t want you to be that girl again either. I like the woman I met on Ravenna and if you’re friends don’t, well then to hell with them. But, I think you need to give them a chance. If they don’t realize how wonderful you are and want the old Buffy Summers back well then that’s their loss.”
Buffy looked into Jack’s eyes seeing compassion and something else. She wasn’t ready to put a name to what else she saw and she knew he wasn’t either.
“In some ways I’m still torn. I told you when we first met that I didn’t know what I wanted to do. Did I want to be here or there. Jack, maybe it’s wrong but I don’t want to stay in Sunnydale. I’m afraid if I do they’ll want me to be the slayer again and I can’t do that. But I also know I want to be able to see Dawn. I don’t know what to do.”
“Buffy, you don’t have to decide right now. But, I want you to know, you and Bronwyn will always be welcome here.”
Then almost as if an irresistible force was drawing them together Jack bent his head toward Buffy and placed a soft kiss on her lips.
Before Buffy could speak he stopped her by placing a finger lightly on her lips. “I don’t expect anything from you but I want you to know that I would very much like it if you stayed. I know you’ll be going through a lot of things in the next few days but I’ll be there with you every step of the way and when it’s over I’ll still be here.”